Mortal Kombat Preview
- By: CM Boots-Faubert
- Posted 5th Apr 2011
Mortal Kombat 2011 was one of the games at PAX East that did not present as a hands-off preview, which goes a long way towards explaining why the lines for it were very long and the gamers in queue very excited. We had an appointment of course, so we discretely skirted the lines and met up with our host, who whisked us to a demo console and set us up!
Whenever a developer or their PR people use the term "Series Reboot" it makes most games journos a bit nervous. Firstly, because the term has been really overused in the past year, and secondly because quite often when they use the phrase what they think it means -- and what it actually means -- are not always the same thing.
In the case of Mortal Kombat 2011 we were relieved to discover that they not only used the term correctly, but that the game itself was every but the series reboot that it was presented as -- and this is very good news if you happen to be a fan of the Mortal Kombat series or arcade fighting games in general!
Before we get too far into that though, we should talk about the Mortal Kombat game series and what brought it to the place --PAX East -- and the time -- 2011 -- that it is at.
In the beginning...
Mortal Kombat (usually abbreviated as MK by serious fans) began as a series of four arcade machines that were developed by the iconic King of the Stand-Up Arcade Box Midway Games from original concepts developed by Ed Boon and John Tobias, the fathers of MK.
To appreciate what that means, climb with us into the Wayback Machine -- let me twirl this dial... Yeah... And I think 1993 would be best, as that will give us the chance to see Mortal Kombat at a time when the video game arcade still had some force in the world...
You are standing in a room filled with stand-up arcade machines, and a crowd is gathered around one in particular -- a black machine with the words "Mortal Kombat" painted on it. The bloke standing at the machine drops in some coins, and as you shoulder surf you see some character biographies flash past and then he hits the start button and the game begins.
As you watch, a pair of very skilled warriors take to battle, using a combination of martial arts and special tactics, and while each of the characters had their own set of moves and finishing moves, they were largely equal in strength, speed, and skills -- because these were the best of the best, not a mixture of common street thugs usually found in other games.
It was this unique approach and the different endings that awaited each character that cemented the popularity of the game, leading to not one but three more sequel arcade games, and eventually the jump from the arcade style of machine that the games were crafted for to the home arcade machine -- with perhaps a tiny loss in the style, quality, and impact.
Get back in mate, we have to go back to 2011 before the Time Cops get us and then... Wait, that is a different game.
The important thing to take away from this experience is to understand that these games were originally created for a specific experience, aimed at arcade gamers, and told a well defined story that was interesting and established a following that despite time and perceived abuse of the franchise maintains to this day...
It is difficult to say which was the most popular -- Mortal Kombat started it all, but a lot of gamers consider Mortal Kombat II to be the better game.